Seeking counsel

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Joshua 9:3-10:43; Psalm 104:24-35

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Joshua 9:14 “So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD.”

The inhabitants of Gibeon were afraid of the military successes of Israel especially of what they have done with Jericho and Ai. So they decided to deceive Israel by pretending to come from afar seeking peace. Joshua and the leaders fell for their deception because they did not “ask counsel from the LORD”. When it was discovered that the people seeking peace were actually their neighbours who feared destruction; the Israelites “murmured against the leaders” (ref v.18). The conflict between the people and their leaders was resolved when Joshua insisted that they should stick to their covenant made with the Gibeonites since it was made in the Name of the LORD (ref v.19). Nonetheless, it was an episode which could have permanently disrupted Joshua’ campaign to conquer the whole of Canaan.

For all of Joshua’s successes, this episode was recorded as an epic failure on his part. I believe this was the author’s deliberate attempt to give to us the real history of what had happened; and not to sugarcoat. This is also one of the major reasons why I have faith in the Bible. It is as authentic as it should be.

We are not told why the Lord spared Joshua from such an epic failure. It could be because he and the leaders recognised their failure in the midst of the congregation (v.16-20), gave reverence to the Lord’s Name and did what was necessary to right the wrong.

In any case, this episode is a strong reminder to me. If my daily living is dependent on the grace of God; then all the more I will need to consult Him on the important matters of life, family and ministry. I confess that there are times when I just rely upon my own wisdom and knowledge. It was much “easier” that way. However, as a consequence, the results were not as ideal as I need them to be. Seeking the Lord’s counsel is important for it is not just a matter of wanting ideal results; but walking the talk that we trust in His wisdom and grace. It is after all, the living out of our faith and whatever knowledge we have of the Word.

Lord, help me to live out Your Word by spending time to seek Your counsel; not just on issues which are challenging, but as and when You like me to. Amen.